Teaching How To Kill Properly

by x3Blind on April 7, 2015 - 3:47pm

Voluntary euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide are presently a few of the most controversial topics in the media. News articles, television shows and movies, uniquely present information regarding the debate of those two topics. In the National Post, on April 1st 2015, author Sharon Kirkey writes an article on the decision of Canadian medical schools to introduce voluntary euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide in the curriculum. However, does the news media represent the Canadian faculties of medicine in regard to issue of euthanasia in an ethical way? Indeed it does.

The article presents the many possibilities that Canadian medical schools may approach the addition of euthanasia in the education program if ever the practice becomes legal. These possibilities come from credible sources such as Dr. Richard Reznick, the dean of Faculty of Health Science of Queen’s University and Maryse Grignon of McGill University’s office of undergraduate curriculum implementation. (Kirkey 1). In summary, the article states that if doctor assisted suicide and euthanasia are legalized, Canadian faculties of medicine would apply them in curriculum but it is unsure exactly how it will be done (Kirkey 1). However, it will not be mandatory because there will be students who personally feel it is unethical (Kirkey 1). The schools will do their best to work within the legalities of medical practices to produce the best doctors they can.

The article targets Canadian and Western world readers. Thus, from an ethical relativist point of view, to understand if the media represents the schools in an ethical way, the western journalistic values must be questioned rather than other ethical point of views such as Ubuntu. The values that can be questioned are the accuracy, the limitation of harm and the avoidance of discrimination of the article. Kirkey directly uses the quotations of her credible sources. For example, she writes: “Dr. Reznick of Queen’s said that, despite “all our best efforts in palliative care,” many patients with incurable diseases face an “agonizing” death” (Kirkey 1). Although this quotation opens up to more criticism, none aim to put her sources in jeopardy and are only chosen to clearly emphasize the position of the faculties with the situation. The words chosen by Kirkey benefits society rather than harming it. They do not discriminate anyone but only inform in a neutral way. As for the other values in western journalism such as independence and primacy of individualism, it is unknown. However, since the article is published, it can be speculated that they are respected as well. In essence, since the article respects the western world journalistic values, it is ethical because it is aims to a Canadian and western audience. One may also judge the text from a theological point of view.

The media represents the Canadian medical schools in an ethical way from a theological point of view. The ultimate goal of the article is for people to read it and to inform them about the issues these institutions face. For example, Susan Kirkey uses techniques to grab the reader’s attention by writing: “Canada’s medical schools are preparing for what was once unimaginable – teaching medical students and residents how to help patients take their own lives” (Kirkey 1). Although, this idea twists slightly the truth, it grabs the attention of the reader. The reader eventually notices that it is more or less untrue once he or she reads the article and thus, learns more from it. In the end, the audience gets informed which is the main goal. Also, from a utilitarian point of view, the news media does not harm anyone and stimulates mental happiness for the majority. For example, the article contains a quote when making reference to the doctor assisted suicide added in the curriculum by saying: “It won’t be a mandatory core competency of any of our training programs” (Kirkey 1). Everybody in these faculties will have the choice to learn about these practices and thus, by having a choice in the matter, everybody is happy in the end. From a broader point of view, the majority of readers benefit from the article by learning more from it. The faculties benefit by setting their point of view publicly, those in opposition benefit by learning the other side’s decision and now have a chance to react and readers in general benefit by learning and choosing sides. Thus, from a theological point of view, the article “Canadian medical schools readying doctors to talk to patients about assisted suicide” by Sharon Kirkey portrays these schools ethically.

In conclusion, author Sharon Kirkey in her article “Canadian medical schools readying doctors to talk to patients about assisted suicide”, posted on April 1st 2015 in the National Post represents the Canadian faculties of medicine in an ethical way by looking at the situation in an ethical relativist and theological point of view. However, media around the world may represent euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide related topics differently because of culture and different ethics. This elicits the question: Will we ever find a standardized code of ethics in media?

Works Cited

Kirkey, Sharon. “Canadian medical schools readying doctors to talk to patients about assisted suicide.” National Post 1 April 2015 late ed. Web. April 4 2015.                                                                                <http://news.nationalpost.com/health/assisted-death-medical-schools>

About the author